Ladies (and gentlemen, if you’re interested!), what could be better than combining sweet treats with chic style? I love the excitement and indulgence of both, which is why I was thrilled when I recently received a copy of Rachel Shifter Thebault’s Sweet Chic to review.
The idea behind this book is charming; Rachel compares her baking philosophy to the advice given by many fashion experts: start with a few wardrobe staples (think little black dress, that perfect pair of jeans, or your favorite oversize handbag) and then accessorize your little heart out to dress it up or down and completely alter the look. This strategy is applied to the recipes in this book; by starting out with a basic recipe or technique and applying a few alterations you can have virtually endless results.
Thumbing through the book (which by the way, has many pictures of these oh-so-tempting sweet treats), I saw several recipes I wanted to make. Peanut butter and chocolate thumbprints, ice cream sandwiches, and salt and pepper chocolate are a few of the many things that called to me. In the end I decided on fudgy brownies because really, it doesn’t get much better than a good brownie.
There aren’t many things that can’t be improved with chocolate…but a berry fool is still pretty tasty even on its own.
I had some fresh red raspberries that I wanted to incorporate into the dish and I thought a raspberry fool would be a nice way to do it. A fruit fool is a traditional English dessert of pureed fruit folded into sweetened whipped cream. For my recipe, I crumbled these lovely fudgy brownies and used them as my base.
And of course fudgy brownies and a tall glass of milk are a match made in heaven.
I did make a few changes to the original brownie recipe in the book…the biggest alterations I made were to scale back the recipe a bit, use all brown sugar (for a truly sublime fudgy texture), and add of a bit of cocoa powder (because I love the deep chocolate flavor it gives to brownies). Oh, and I added literally just a pinch of instant coffee, a trick I learned from Ina Garten a while ago; it’s completely optional, and you won’t be able to taste the coffee – it just helps accentuate the flavor of the chocolate.
1/2 a batch of Fudgy Brownies (recipe below)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup red raspberries, pureed
Make the brownies, then crumble half and place the crumbles in 1 large trifle bowl, or 6 individual serving bowls. Whip the cream to soft peaks, then whip in the powdered sugar; fold in the raspberries, leaving a few streaks of white, if possible. Spoon the cream/raspberry mixture onto the crumbled brownies and serve immediately.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (if using chips, about 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Pinch instant coffee (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F; line an 8-inch square metal baking pan with parchment paper; lightly spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray.
Melt together the butter and chocolate in a microwave or double boiler; cool slightly. Stir in the brown sugar and vanilla, then beat in the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and stir until just combined, being careful not to over-mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the brownies are set in the middle, about 30 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through (if your baking pan is glass, add about 5 minutes to the cooking time).
Cool completely before cutting or crumbling to use as the base of the Chocolate Raspberry Fools.
And one last picture, just because these brownies were so incredibly fudgy…